ARGENTINA: HEAVY RAINFALL AND FREEZE CAUSE CONCERN FOR LATE SOYBEANS
During the week of April 24, very heavy showers
caused flooding and possibly crop damage to soybeans in central
and southern Santa Fe, southern Cordoba, and northern La Pampa.
Lighter amounts fell elsewhere in the main summer crop areas. A
week earlier localized freezing temperatures had caused some
damage to filling second-crop soybeans in central Argentina.
According to reports as of April 30, Argentine soybeans were 33
percent harvested, compared with 31 percent a year ago.
Heavy rains fell across the northern Argentine cotton areas of Santa Fe, Santiago del Estero, Formosa, and Chaco, during the week of April 11. This excessive moisture slowed cotton harvesting and possibly caused some crop damage and quality concerns. Drier weather in early May favored cotton harvesting. As of April 30, about 21 percent of the cotton crop was reported as harvested, on par with last year.
SOUTHERN BRAZIL: SHOWERS SLOWED LATE SUMMER CROP HARVESTING
Heavy rains fell across southern Brazil during the period from mid-April to early May, slowing soybean harvesting and causing some localized flooding. However, drier weather prevailed during the first part of April, favoring harvest. Temperatures during the second-half of April and early May, averaged 1 to 3 degrees C above normal. According to reports as of April 30, Brazilian soybeans were 88 percent harvested, compared to 87 percent during this same period last year. Harvesting was 72 percent complete in Rio Grande do Sul, compared to 70 percent last year. In the other major soybean-producing states, harvesting was more than 90 percent complete.
CHINA: WINTER WHEAT STRESSED BY DRY AND HOT WEATHER
Unseasonably dry, hot weather (1 to 3 degrees C above normal) during April and early May stressed the rainfed winter wheat crop on the North China Plain. The weather in this region has been unusually dry since Fall 1998. The impact was greatest in Shandong, Hebei, and Shanxi Provinces, which account for more than 30 percent of China's winter wheat crop. The dryness also reduced water supplies for irrigated wheat and summer crops in the region. Recent scattered showers and cooler temperatures have improved the growing conditions for the wheat, now in the grain-fill stage, but it may have come too late to boost yields significantly. Crop conditions have been more favorable for the wheat crop in the central and eastern Provinces of Henan, Anhui, and Jiangsu, which recorded near-normal rainfall and temperatures this spring. Good wheat yields are forecast in these provinces. Planting for spring wheat was delayed in parts of Manchuria and Inner Mongolia by cold and wet weather in March, but conditions in April and May were favorably warm and moist for germination and vegetative growth.
ARGENTINA: CORN PRODUCTION ESTIMATE FOR 1998/99 REDUCED
Argentina's 1998/99 corn production is estimated at 14.0 million tons, down 0.5 million tons from last month and down 28 percent from last year's record crop. Harvested area is down 0.1 million hectares to 2.8 million, while yield is unchanged at 5 tons per hectare. In April, heavy rains fell in parts of Santa Fe, Cordoba, and northern La Pampa causing flooding. The Argentine Agricultural Secretariat reports that some corn areas were turned over to feedlot use and forage. As of late April, harvest was 50 percent complete and total area reduction (from planted area) was about 500,000 hectares. The harvest pace is recovering following recent drier weather.
ARGENTINA: OILSEED PRODUCTION REDUCED BY FROST AND RAIN
Argentina's 1998/99 oilseed production is estimated at 25.9 million tons, down 0.6 million or 2 percent from last month. Area is revised downward by 0.2 million hectares to an estimated 12.0 million to reflect frost damage and heavy rainfall. An unusual-heavy frost occurred April 17 in the northern Provinces of Chaco, Santiago del Estero, and Santa Fe. Additionally, heavy rainfall (100-250 mm) during the period April 24-26 caused some localized flooding in the Provinces of Santa Fe, eastern Cordoba, and northern La Pampa . Soybean production is estimated 0.2 million tons lower at 18.5 million; sunflowerseed is estimated 0.2 million tons lower at 6.5 million; cottonseed is estimated 120,000 tons lower at 430,000 tons; and peanuts are estimated 80,000 tons lower at 480,000 tons.
ARGENTINA: COTTON OUTPUT REDUCED DUE TO UNFAVORABLE WEATHER
Argentina's 1998/99 cotton production is estimated at 1.1 million bales, down 0.3 million or 21 percent from last month and 19 percent below last year's crop. The area estimate is reduced from 0.72 million hectares to 0.65 million. Yield potential has dropped significantly because of adverse weather. Periods of heavy rainfall, excessive wetness and persistent cloudiness in Chaco, Formosa, and Santiago del Estero caused weed infestation and rotting of most of the lower bolls. In addition, a widespread frost that occurred in mid-April restricted crop development. The frost occurred 40 to 45 days earlier than expected. Cotton sown after mid-December is believed to be affected, the most. The Argentine Agricultural Secretariat reports that 24 percent of the crop was harvested as of late April. Estimated frost-related area reductions, by province, are as follows: 15,000 hectares in Chaco, 10,500 in Formosa and 30,000 hectares in Santiago del Estero.
UNITED STATES: CROP CONDITION AND PROGRESS
The month began with heavy rains that halted fieldwork and eroded hillsides in the lower Mississippi Valley and adjacent areas of the southern Great Plains and middle Mississippi Valley. Rain in the Southwest and several inches of snow in the northern Great Plains eased moisture shortages, but soils remained abnormally dry in many areas of both regions. Light rainfall moistened soils and temporarily delayed spring tillage and fertilizing in parts of the Southeast, lower Ohio Valley, Corn Belt, and Southwest. Below-normal temperatures hindered crop development in the central and northern High Plains, and California. Coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest remained cold and rainy, adversely affecting crop conditions and promoting diseases. A combination of heat and dry weather triggered wildfires in Florida.
During the second week of the month, strong thunderstorms delivered soaking rains, spawned tornadoes, and halted fieldwork in the western Corn Belt. Adjacent areas of the Great Plains, eastern Corn Belt, and Great Lakes received lighter showers that moistened soils and temporarily delayed spring tillage. Warm weather in the southern Plains, lower Mississippi Valley, and Southeast promoted rapid development of winter wheat and early row crops. In the lower Mississippi Valley, wet soils and additional showers continued to limit fieldwork and planting. The Southeast, Atlantic Coastal Plains, and most of the Great Plains were dry, promoting tillage and fertilizing operations, but disrupting planting. Cold weather slowed crop development and delayed planting along the Pacific Coast, especially in California.
A mid-month cold front pushed southward through the Great Plains, freezing maturing wheat fields in the southern Great Plains and halting development in the central and northern Great Plains. Hail associated with a line of severe storms also caused crop damage in the southern Great Plains. Persistent showers limited fieldwork and prevented row crop planting in most of the Corn Belt and central Great Plains. Dry conditions along the Ohio River Valley in the southern Corn Belt and Atlantic Coastal Plains permitted steady fieldwork and planting accelerated. Dry weather aided fieldwork and small grain seeding, while sunny skies improved wheat development in parts of the northern Great Plains, northern Rocky Mountains, and Pacific Northwest. Soils remained wet in North Dakota and western Minnesota due to poor drying conditions, while some areas of the Pacific Northwest needed rain to germinate seeds. Warmer weather encouraged planting and aided crop development in the Southwest.
Later in the month, heavy rains halted fieldwork in the northern Corn Belt, and lighter rainfall limited progress in other areas of the Corn Belt. In the southern Great Plains, a line of thunderstorms delivered brief downpours that increased soil moisture levels and aided crop development. Hail and isolated flooding associated with the thunderstorms damaged some wheat in Oklahoma. In the Southeast and Atlantic Coastal Plains, continued dry weather aided fieldwork, but discouraged planting and hindered crop emergence. Planting and field preparations accelerated in the lower Mississippi Valley, as warm, windy weather rapidly dried wet soils. Dry, sunny weather favored fieldwork and small grain seeding in the northern Great Plains. Dry soils stressed winter wheat in the Pacific Northwest, while warm, dry weather in California promoted crop development, and field activities rapidly progressed. A slow-moving upper-level low pressure system over the Great Basin produced a mixture of precipitation that replenished topsoil moisture in parts of the central High Plains and Rockies.
As the end of the month approached, heavy rains halted fieldwork and planting in the High Plains, parts of eastern Kansas and Oklahoma, and adjacent areas of southern Missouri. Heavy rains ended excessive dryness in parts of the Atlantic Coastal Plains and eased drought conditions in southern Florida. Lighter precipitation hampered field activities in the southern Appalachians and the Tennessee, lower Ohio, and middle Mississippi Valleys. Dry conditions aided planting in the eastern and northern Corn Belt, northern Great Plains, and Southwest. Excessive dryness delayed planting and hindered emergence and growth in parts of the Gulf Coast region and adjacent inland areas of the Southeast and lower Mississippi Valley. Below-normal temperatures hindered winter wheat development and emergence of other small grains and row crops in the central and southern Great Plains and most of the Corn Belt. Above-normal temperatures promoted crop emergence and development in the northern Great Plains and Great Lakes States, but dry soils hindered crop emergence. In California, cool weather, scattered showers, and strong winds caused minor planting delays.
When the month ended, planting of most major field crops was behind normal. One-fifth of the corn acreage was planted compared with nearly one-third for the 5-year average. Cotton, sorghum, and peanut planting was several days behind normal, while soybean and rice planting was only slightly behind the average. Seeding of small grains was well ahead of normal as the month ended and emergence was slightly ahead of normal. Winter wheat development was also ahead of the normal as the month ended, with more than one-fourth of the crop headed. Harvesting began in southern Texas and fields were rapidly maturing in central and eastern Texas.
FORMER SOVIET UNION: WEATHER AND CROP DEVELOPMENTS
In April, unseasonably mild weather prevailed over Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and the Baltics, promoting rapid growth of winter grains and raising soil temperatures for spring planting activities. Monthly temperatures averaged 2 to 4 degrees C above normal in Ukraine and southern Russia and 3 to 5 degrees C above normal in northern Russia, Belarus, and the Baltics. Winter grains broke dormancy in northern Russia about 1 week earlier than usual and advanced into the jointing stage of development in Ukraine and southern Russia. Below-normal precipitation in Russia and eastern Ukraine allowed spring grain planting to advance rapidly northward during the month. Although above-normal precipitation fell in southern and western Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltics, periodic dryness allowed planting activities to progress without delays. At month's end, winter grains were jointing throughout most of the region. Spring grain planting was reportedly progressing ahead of last year's pace, with corn, sunflower, and sugar beet planting well underway in Ukraine and southern Russia. In early May, unseasonably cold weather pushed southward over the region, halting fieldwork and slowing crop development. On several days, minimum temperatures fell below freezing as far south as southern Ukraine and the northern tip of the North Caucasus region in Russia. Lowest weekly temperatures ranged from -2 to -6 degrees C in these areas. Overall, temperatures did not fall low enough to threaten winter grains in the jointing stage. However, the freeze likely caused some damage to newly emerged summer crops, especially in the central Black Soils Region in Russia and the northeastern Ukraine, where nighttime lows ranged from -4 to -6 degrees C. Soils are becoming unfavorably dry in the northern North Caucasus region, Volga Valley, and the eastern portion of the Central Black Soils region, where dry weather has persisted since the middle of March.
In crop areas east of the Urals, spring grain planting usually
begins in May. In April, unusually warm, dry weather during the
second half of the month helped to condition soils for early
season fieldwork. Moisture accumulations since last fall have
been near to above normal in Russia and major growing areas in
Kazakstan, boosting soil moisture conditions for the upcoming
growing season. Recently, showers accompanied unseasonably cold
weather in the southern Urals and western Kazakstan, slowing
early spring fieldwork. Mild weather accompanied several days of
dryness in Western Siberia and eastern Kazakstan, allowing early
Tom Puterbaugh (202) 720-2012
FEATURE COMMODITY ARTICLES
INDICATIONS FOR 1999/2000 WORLD COTTON PRODUCTION
World cotton production for 1999/00 is projected at 87.0 million bales, 2.9 million higher than the 84.1 million estimated for 1998/99. For the 1998/99 and 1997/98 seasons, China, India, and Pakistan had mixed results during their growing seasons. This is in contrast to the 1996/97 season when India and Pakistan had more favorable weather and reduced disease and pest problems. For 1995/96 it was these countries that helped push total world production to 93.0 million bales, the second largest crop in history. This output propelled ending-stocks to the highest level since 1991/92. More-than-adequate stock levels together with the more recent world economic events in 1997/98 and 1998/99 have caused world cotton prices to continue their decline from 1994/95 when the cotton A-Index reached an yearly average of 91.4 cents per pound.
Cotton prices also declined during 1997/98 due to excess production which outpaced consumption. The converse was true for 1998/99 as production fell more than consumption. The average cotton A-Index from August 1998 through April 1999 was nearly15 cents per pound lower than for the same period a year earlier. The current drop in cotton prices is due both to a decline in consumption, precipitated by the East Asia economic crisis and to China's shift from a net importer to a net exporter this season.
In China, 1999/00 output of cotton will likely drop from the current year's production of 4.4 million tons or 20.2 million bales. The Chinese Government is working hard to bring down area and production: the Minister of Agriculture, announced that the target for reductions will be 3.5 million tons or 16.1 million bales, nearly 4.0 million bales lower than 1998/99. The Government hopes to achieve the reductions through a drop in the procurement price for cotton. Reductions in cotton output are expected to be the greatest in the Yellow River Basin, where input costs are high and pest problems severe. Smaller reductions are expected in the Yangtze River Basin, while none are planned in Xinjiang. As part of the effort to reduce cotton planted area, the Government has announced many reforms in cotton procurement policies. The most important of these reforms are the liberalization of cotton prices beginning in September 1999, and the liberalization of procurement. The liberalization will theoretically allow mills to purchase cotton directly from farmers in competition with the Government's Cotton and Jute Corporation (C&J). However, many officials in both the national and provincial governments are pessimistic about the Government's ability to reduce planted area. Even at lower prices, cotton remains the best cash-earning crop for farmers in many parts of China. As for direct farm-to-mill purchase, C&J has an enormous advantage in cotton procurement experience, and a monopoly on cotton ginning facilities, extensive storage facilities, and a longstanding relationship with farmers.
In India, weak cotton prices are expected to result in lower output for 1999/00. Low prices, pest/disease problems, and adverse harvest weather (especially in northern India) have caused major financial setbacks to cotton producers in 1998/99. As a result, producers are expected to reduce 1999/00 cotton area to below the record 1998/99 of 9.2 million hectares. Assuming a timely monsoon and normal weather, outyear production is projected below 1998/99 estimated 12.9 million bales. Current prices of popular cotton varieties have been 5 to 10 percent below the 1997/98 level due to a recession in the Indian textile industry. Despite the early announcement of the 1998/99 export quota of 400,000 bales, exports have been negligible due to low international prices. Poor returns from the 1998/99 crop will particularly affect planting in northern India where farmers have suffered heavy financial losses due to two consecutive years of low yields caused by adverse weather and pests. The shift away from cotton is expected to be less pronounced in other regions where yields have been less affected by these problems.
Cotton output in Pakistan for 1999/00 is expected to be slightly higher than this season, when production dropped to 6.3 million bales. This estimate is 0.9 million bales less than last year and is the lowest production since 1994/95 of slightly less than 6.3 million bales when the crop was reduced by leaf curl virus and white fly. The lower output for the current year is supported by cotton gin arrival data which revealed a 13-percent lag behind last season's arrivals for the same period. This indicates that late-season production losses were greater than expected, though under reporting by gin operators has contributed somewhat to the reduction in arrivals. Cotton area for 1999/00 is forecast to be about 2.9 million hectares, unchanged from 1998/99 as the continued poor returns for cotton are mitigated by government initiatives supporting cotton production. Given the current low world prices and the strong demand from the domestic textile industry for imported cotton, producer profits for 1999/00 are not expected to recover from the 1998/99 season. On the other hand, the Government of Pakistan plans wide-scale distribution of new insect and virus-tolerant cotton varieties in time for the 1999/00 planting season.
Sugarcane farmers are continuing to have payment problems, thus limiting area shifts from cotton. Cotton yield is expected to average between 500 to 600 kilograms per hectare. This is based on increased planting of tolerant varieties, adequate fertilizer application and the availability of better quality pesticides. However, these agronomic factors were present for last year's crop.
In the United States, cotton production is forecast at 18.0 million bales, up 4.1 million or 29 percent from 1998/99. This estimate assumes historical average abandonment and yields per harvested are that are slightly below trend. A total 5.6 million hectares, 4 percent above 1998/99 are expected to be sown for 1999/00. The Delta shows a 9-percent increase, while the Southeast region expects a 7-percent increase from 1998/99. Producers in Texas and Oklahoma intend to plant 2 percent more area than in 1998/99. Although California growers intend to plant 20,234 more hectares of American-Pima cotton in 1999/00, the U.S. Pima acreage is down 7-percent, at 123,511 hectares from last year. As of May 2, cotton planting progress was slower than the five-year average of 28 percent. However, beneficial rains occurred recently in Texas and the Southeast and warmer weather was experienced in California.
Ronald R. Roberson, Cotton Chairperson
Phone: (202) 720-0879
World Cotton: Area, Yield, and Production
NOTE: Forecast information in this article is based on recent field reports from U. S. agricultural counselors and attaches, together with information from USDA Washington analysts. Actual production and area could vary from these estimates for a number of reasons, including government policy changes, weather during the crop season, and price changes for cotton and competing crops. Individual country estimates for 1999/00 area, yield, and production will be released in July of this year.
1999/2000 WORLD GRAIN OUTLOOK
World grain production (wheat, coarse grains, and rice) for 1999/00 is forecast at 1,845.8 million tons, up 0.5 million or virtually unchanged from 1998/99. World wheat production is forecast at 572.4 million tons, down 2.6 million or 16 percent from last year. In the United States, reduced wheat area and prospective yield caused production to fall to 61.1 million tons, down 12 percent from last year. China's wheat output is projected lower than last season at 106.0 million tons due to drought in the eastern North China Plain. Also, Morocco, Syria, and Iran wheat output is down from 1998/99 due to drought and the EU-15 wheat crop is reduced due to higher set aside and variable weather. Canada, Australia, India, Argentina, Kazakstan, Ukraine, and Russia's wheat production are projected to be higher this season. The Russian and Kazakstan wheat crops are expected to recover from severe 1998/99 drought conditions, while India is projected to produce a record crop.
World 1999/00 coarse grain production is forecast at 884.7 million tons, up 6.9 million or 1 percent from 1998/99 due mainly to increases in China, Russia, many Eastern European countries, and Argentina. The United States, Kazakstan, EU-15, and Canada are projected to have less coarse grains output this season. World corn production is forecast at a record level for 1999/00 as China's corn crop is projected to be a record.
World barley production continues to decline to its lowest level in 24 years as decreases in the EU-15, Morocco, and several Middle East countries more than offset a recovery in yield prospects in Russia. World oat production is forecast higher due mainly to increases in the EU-15 and Russia.
World 1999/00 rice production is forecast at a record 388.8 million tons, up 9.2 million or 2 percent from 1998/99 due to record prospects in both the United States and the total foreign category. Record or near record output is expected in the major producing countries, while larger crops are likely in the major foreign exporters. This assumes normal weather and a continued increase in the adoption of improved technologies. Also, world rice area is likely to be up from1998/99 due to normal expansion and recovery from inclement weather in some countries. Country level supply and distribution estimates will be detailed for rice in July1999.
Timothy Rocke, Grain Chairman
Telephone: (202) 720-1572
E: mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
WORLD SOYBEAN PRODUCTION
World soybean production continued on its upward trend in 1998/99. Area, yield, and production estimates for the last decade can be seen in the tables following this article. (area, yield, production)
World soybean output for 1998/99 is estimated at a record 157.2 million tons, up 61.2 million or 64 percent from 1988/89. The increase has been fairly continuous with year-to-year increases occurring in 8 of 10 years through the last decade with some acceleration of growth occurring in more recent years for Argentina and the United States. For the decade, area harvested is up 26 percent and yield up 30 percent.
Rising yields may be attributable to a number of factors including: (1) improved protection for intellectual property rights for seed companies in some countries which has encouraged seed companies to develop and distribute improved varieties, (2) improved availability of inputs and a wider array of available pesticides, (3) improved seed varieties developed by traditional crossing, and Round-up Ready soybeans developed by genetic engineering, (4) changed government economic policies which improved incentives for producers to improve yields, and (5) greater use of sophisticated cultural practices, including no-till on easily erodible terrain. Rising soybean area may be attributable to changes in domestic, trade, and general economic policies which encouraged more investment in the agricultural arena through market deregulation and strengthening investor confidence in relying on market signals. In the United States, the "Freedom to Farm" legislation adopted in the mid-1990's and widespread adoption of cost reducing technologies for soybeans helped account for a sharp advance in U.S. planted area.
Soybean output in 1998/99 is up 0.5 million tons or less than 1 percent over 1997/98. The estimate for 1998/99 remains a preliminary number with the harvest still not complete in tropical and southern hemisphere countries, but it appears that less favorable weather in some countries will result in a decline of 1 percent in overall yield. Harvested area, however, is estimated to have increased by 2 percent.
For the 1999/00 crop, record high planting intentions were reported by farmers in the United States, but low world soybean prices are likely to be a negative influence on world output.
United States: Soybean production for the 1998/99 crop is estimated by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) at a record 75.0 million tons, up 3 percent from 1997/98. Growing conditions were generally favorable in soybean growing regions, with reports of spotty or localized planting difficulties, dryness, and plant diseases. Yield in 1998/99, is estimated at 2.62 tons per hectare, virtually unchanged from 1997/98, but 6 percent lower than the record yield of 2.78 tons set in 1994/95. Though soybean prices were lower in early 1998 than they had been a year earlier, prices were favorable relative to alternative commodities. Consequently, area harvested reached a record 28.7 million hectares. In 1999/00, production is forecast at a record 75.0 million tons, up 3 percent from 1998/99. "Prospective Plantings," released March 31 by NASS, placed 1999/00 planting intentions at 29.6 million hectares, 1 percent higher than 1998/99.
Brazil: The 1998/99 soybean crop is estimated to be the second highest on record at 31.0 million tons, down 0.5 million or 2 percent from last year. Going into the 1998/99 season, farmers faced lower world commodity prices than they saw the previous year and were faced with high interest rates. Devaluation of the Brazilian currency in January was too late to affect planting decisions, but may help farmers financially. Dryness during February and March in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul reduced prospects for a record crop. Nearly 90 percent of the crop was harvested by the end of April as conditions remained generally favorable for the completion of harvesting ahead of last year. Prospects for soybean plantings in 1999/00 will depend on soybean prices and prices of alternative crops prior to planting (October through December). Devaluation will favor expansion of production for agricultural commodities in general, but may favor production of import commodities such as cotton over soybeans.
Argentina: Soybean output for 1998/99 is estimated at 18.5 million tons, down 0.7 million or 4 percent from the record crop of 1997/98. At the beginning of the season, high relative prices favored soybean plantings over corn and wheat and resulted in soybean-area expansion. Harvested area for 1998/99 is estimated at 7.3 million hectares, up 4 percent from 1997/98. However, dryness during the growing season in parts of Buenos Aires, Cordoba, and Santa Fe Provinces hindered crop development and yield is estimated down 8 percent from last year. An unusual hard frost occurred April 17 in the northern Provinces of Chaco, Santiago del Estero and Santa Fe that caused damage to later maturing soybeans. Heavy rainfall (100-250 mm) during the period April 24 to 26 caused some localized flooding and damage to the crop in the Provinces of Santa Fe, eastern Cordoba, and northern La Pampa. The outlook for the 1999/00 crop will depend on the size of the Northern Hemisphere crop now being planted. Argentina, with its fixed exchange rate, will be at a disadvantage relative to Brazil by the devaluation of the Real.
Paraguay: Soybean production for 1998/99 is estimated at a record 3.2 million tons, up 0.2 million or 7 percent from last year's crop. Both area and yield increased over last season. Heavy fertilizer usage and increased direct seeding by farmers are key factors contributing to the record crop. The growing season was characterized by favorable weather conditions early, but dryness during late February to mid-March. Later, high temperatures prevailed during the critical flowering period reducing yield prospects in some areas. Heavy rainfall returned to the region towards the end of March delaying harvesting operations. Planting of the 1999/00 crop will take place from October to December 1999, and prospects will depend upon the size of the Northern Hemisphere crop.
China: Soybean output for 1998/99 is estimated at 13.8 million tons, down 6 percent from the previous year due to lower area and yield. Soybean area dropped by 4 percent to an estimated 8.0 million hectares as farmers responded to excessive stocks and low prices by reducing planted area and shifting to other crops, particularly in Northeast China. Yield is estimated at 1.73 tons per hectare, down slightly from 1997/98. The crop was adversely affected by flooding in the Northeast and parts of Central China during 1998, but favorable summer weather resulted in very good yields on the North China Plain. Prospects for the 1999/00 crop are being negatively affected by domestic oversupply and low prices. Planting weather has been good in Manchuria, but dry in the North China Plain.
India: Soybean production for 1998/99 is estimated at a record 5.5 million tons, up 3 percent from 1997/98. The high output is chiefly attributed to a record area of 6.1 million hectares and an above-average yield. Soybean area for 1998/99 is up 8 percent from last year. Yields from Madhya Pradesh (the largest soybean producing state) and Maharashtra were lower than expected due to delayed and inadequate rains. Prospects for the upcoming 1999/00 crop depend on the monsoon rains which normally begin in June.
Indonesia: Soybean production for 1998/99 is forecast at 1.3 million tons, similar to1997/98, but down from 1.5 million tons in 1996/97. Harvested area in 1998/99 is estimated at 1.1 million hectares, similar to 1997/98. Yield is estimated at a near record 1.21 tons per hectare, maintaining the upward yield trend of the past decade. Many farmers planted rice this year instead of soybeans, as rains in 1997/98 were sufficient to grow rice in more fields than usual. Rice remains more profitable to grow compared to soybeans which require more pesticides and fertilizer. A significant amount of the 1999/00 crop will be grown in the dry season starting in June 2000, and prospects will depend upon economic and weather conditions at that time.
Canada: Soybean production for 1998/99 is estimated at 2.7 million tons, virtually unchanged from last year's record crop. Area harvested decreased by 8 percent to 980,000 hectares in 1998/99, but was still the second highest on record. Soybean yield was the highest ever, allowing Canada to match last year's record crop despite the drop in area. More than 23 percent of Canada's 1998/99 production will be going abroad, as exports through the first six months of the current marketing year were already over 50 percent greater than the comparable period last year. Planting intentions for the 1999/00 soybean crop are slightly higher than the area seeded for the 1998/99 crop. Most of the crop is grown in the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec, where soil moisture has been good throughout winter and early spring.
Paul Provance, Oilseeds Chairperson
Telephone: (202) 720-0881
Rau Achutuni, South America Analyst
Telephone: (202) 690-0140
Paulette Sandene, China Analyst
Telephone: (202) 690-0133
Jim Crutchfield, India Analyst
Telephone: (202) 690-0135
Suzanne Miller, Canada and South East Asia Analyst
Telephone: (202) 720-0882